Wednesday, August 17, 2005:

Experience in E: the revenge of Cannonball

Cannonball Adderley -- Exerience in E (excerpt)
I debated awhile whether to post this side, or an excerpt of the best part, or neither. The track is twenty minutes long, and in my opinion it goes from good to okay to downright brilliant to downright horrible and then back to merely good. I didn't want to post a twenty minute file and hose my hosting, or test anyone's patience (yours, or the RIAA's--even if the track is somewhat crackly, obscure, and long out of print). I also didn't know if I should post an excerpt--it seemed a bit like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the bread. But then Sean at Said the Gramophone said sometimes he ate peanut butter and jelly by the spoonful, so here's a spoonful.

Or, more properly, what we have is an army of caterpillars: methodically and implacably swarming the countryside, eating every leaf in sight, devastating the nation's crops. At some point they begin to pupate; they emerge; they show a severe and deadly beauty, like something out of a darkly humorous apocalyptic sci-fi film--one by Terry Gilliam, perhaps: butterflies flitting about, aimless, shooting laser beams and death rays. Behind it all is the evil genius Cannonball Adderley, who has become mad with power and the prospect of revenge. It turns out he's changed his mind and changed the goal: his enemy is now music itself; he will corner it; he will maul it so badly he can recognize it from a distance. You can hear him make this decision three minutes into the excerpt (eight minutes into the side). Harmony, melody, and rhythm fall under attack for nearly thirteen minutes, then muster the few remaining forces to sign a peace treaty. The terms are harsh, even criminal. Cannonball is pleased.

The LP cover shows a brown paper bag with bits of colored paper ripped off and taped in place crediting various people. It seems appropriate enough to the explorations on the LP. Whatever else it is, it is definitely an experience--uneven, patched together, yet something that I remembered for years and sought out (and wrote about before, with considerably less forgiveness).

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